Notes & Reviews:
American Record Guide, November/December 2014
As one might surmise, given the length of this program, we have here Dowland's famous Lachrimae plus other pieces (15 of them). These works are very sensitively rendered by the Hathor Consort, a viol consort (plus a lute) founded in 2011. The rendition of this famous collection, devoted to melancholy, ranks with the best. Most of the rest of the pieces are galliards, lighter and livelier dances than pavans. Here, these works have a certain degree of lightness. The sound is very good; the notes emphasize a possible spiritual meaning in the Lachrimae.
The Brussels-based Hathor Consort, founded 2011, explores consort music stretching from the Renaissance to the Baroque era, using diverse instrumental combinations, with the viola da gamba as a starting point. For this debut recording, the ensemble has chosen a pièce de résistance of the consort repertoire, the melancholic Lachrimae, or Seven Tears collection of John Dowland (1563-1626).Notes & Reviews:
Recording information: Church of Notre-Dame de l'Ascension, Bra-sur-Lienne, Be (06/25/2013-06/28/2013).
For their premier recording, Belgium-based Hathor Consort has taken on the music of, arguably, Elizabethan England’s most famous musician, John Dowland. An international musical force in his own time (his compositions have been found in manuscript collections from Copenhagen to Rome and from London to Kiev and St. Petersburg), Dowland published this collection in 1604. Centered on the seven “Lachrimae” (in the pavan form), the remaining pieces consist of consort arrangements of previously existing lute songs and solos.
The six virtuoso musicians who comprise the Hathor Consort achieve a unity of sound, rare in such a recently formed group, which is a testament to their individual talents as much as to their collective efforts. Sadly, biographical material is provided only on the group’s director, Romina Lischka, the liner notes choosing instead to theorize about the influence of “occult Neoplatonic and Hermetic teachings”. A very odd choice; as great as the other five musicians sound, they really deserve better treatment.
The modern listener may never fully understand the effect of early music on its intended audience; most attempts to do so usually drift off into the realm of academic speculation. Be that as it may, this performance of John Dowland’s consort music can be unreservedly recommended to contemporary listeners for much more than its historical interest or significance. Beautiful and emotionally evocative, this music was relevant in Dowland’s time and, in the hands of virtuosi like the Hathor Consort, it remains relevant today.
Highest recommendation 10 out of 10 Oscar O. Veterano
Submitted on 06/03/14 by Oscar O. Veterano
Works DetailsDowland, John [Composer] : Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares, for 5 viols/violins & lute
- Conductor: Romina Lischka
- Ensemble: Hathor Consort
- Notes: Church of Notre-Dame de l'Ascension, Bra-sur-Lienne, Belgium (06/25/2013-06/28/2013)
- Running Time: 64 min. 24 sec.
- Period Time: Renaissance
- Written: 1604